This Friday night marks the return of Strikeforce’s flagship farm organization, Strikeforce Challengers, as the red hot Caros Fodor (6-1) continues his blitz for a promotion to the Strikeforce main card against Cung Le (7-1) disciple James Terry (9-2). Also slated for action is Ryan Couture (2-0) as he faces Matt Ricehouse (4-0) in an attempt to lay further ground word to build a legacy for himself separate from that of his famed father “The Natural” Randy Couture (19-11). Lorenz Larkin (9-0) will seek to continue his undefeated attack on the heavyweight division as he takes on the Bellmore Kickboxing Academy KO machine Gian Villante (7-2) and kicking off the main card will be “The Jewel” Julia Budd (2-1) and “Iron Lady” Germaine De Randamie (2-1) as the ladies take the cage in an attempt to make waves in the burgeoning Strikeforce Women’s Welterweight division as the first two women to ever fight under a Zuffa banner.
Tonight, Luna Park’s Big Top Stadium in Sydney, Australia plays host to the inaugural event of the 2011 season for the nation’s longest running MMA promotion, Cage Fighting Championships (CFC). Headlining CFC 16: Lombard vs. Doerksen is reigning concurrent CFC and Bellator Middleweight Champion “Shango” Hector Lombard (25-2) putting not only his belt on the line for a sixth time, but also his four-year long win streak that saw him capture two titles and left a trail of knocked out opponents in his wake when he faces UFC veteran and hard nosed submission specialist “El Dirte” Joe Doerksen (44-14). Doerksen is looking to put an end to his two-fight skid, and taking out a powerhouse and top ten middleweight in Lombard will surely sweeten the win and make an impressive addition to his resume. The co-main event pits Sydney’s own “Chalate” Manuel Rodriguez (7-1) against New Zealand native “Hot Rod” Rod MacSwain (12-2) in a high stakes No. 1 contender bout for the promotion’s welterweight title currently held by American fighter Jesse Juarez (13-4). Also backing the two action packed bouts is a night full of Australian fight veterans and young guns looking to stake claims in Aussie’s premier MMA promotion, Cage Fighting Championships.
Bellator Fighting Championship’s first and still reigning middleweight king “Shango” Hector Lombard (25-2) is returning to his adoptive home of Australia and stepping into the cage sooner than expected. Before he faces UFC, Strikeforce, and SUPERBRAWL veteran “Niko” Falaniko Vitale (27-8) at Bellator 44 in May, Lombard will defend his Cage Fighting Championships title against UFC veteran and world class submission expert “El Dirte” Joe Doerksen (44-14) on March 25 under the CFC banner. The bout will mark the seventh time that Lombard has defended his CFC middleweight title belt.
Just over a year-and-a-half ago, “Shango” Hector Lombard (27-2) was a name that was known only by hardcore fans and the few people who followed his dominant performances in lesser known Australian organizations. Get ready for that to change. In addition to being an elite mixed martial artist, Lombard is also a multiple-time Cuban National Judo Champion and former member of the Cuban Olympic Judo team. He is the first and current Bellator Middleweight Champion as well as the reigning 185lb. champion of the Australia-based Cage Fighting Championships.
Lombard currently trains at the prestigious American Top Team in Coconut Creek, Florida and resides in Sydney, Australia, which has been a second home to him for the past decade. Since 2004 he spent the majority of his MMA career in The Land Down Under until he went international with his aggressive style in 2006. The Judo champion was virtually unknown to American MMA fans until April 2009 when he made his Bellator debut with an explosive knockout victory over Virgilio Lozano Soto (6-2). Some still doubted the Cuban black horse even in the wake of his astonishing US debut. His critics were quieted to a whisper after he blasted through the rest of the middleweight tournament and claimed the Bellator Middleweight Championship with calm but destructive power. Lombard’s incredible aggression and brutal knockout power has led him to amass a 19-fight, four-year-long winning streak and has made one thing certain – those who see him fight either for the first time or the tenth won’t forgot Hector Lombard and the energy he prompts from the audience.